NROP: Things we need when we mourn.

Have you ever lost someone that was near and dear to you? We mourn in different  ways depending on the relationship we had with the deceased. There is no denying that losing a husband and a daughter must feel like the end of the world for Vanessa Bryant.

Also, we all mourn differently because, well, we are different people. Some people need to be surrounded by other people during such times, while others isolate themselves from the world around them. I definitely belong to the latter group. It is my preference to deal with things on my own instead of making others uncomfortable. Let us face it – no one really knows what to say when someone dies. No matter how much we try to empathize, there is always something we should or should not have said to a grieving person.

A month after a basketball superstar – Kobe Bryant, his daughter, the helicopter pilot, a baseball coach with his wife and daughter, a basketball coach, and a mother-daughter duo have died in a helicopter crash, a memorial took place. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal are only some of the celebrities that were in attendance and performed on stage to celebrate the life of Kobe and his daughter. Beyonce requested that no photos of her be taken during the memorial. While some people think that she is trying to ensure that no less-than-flawless photographs of her are taken, others believe that she made that request to have people focus on the Kobe family instead of her. No other performer made such a request.

While Beyonce’s choice is definitely questionable, there is another one that I found interesting. Apparently, per Bryant’s lawyer, Vanessa requested that the crash site be deemed a no-fly zone back in January. We do not know how long she wanted it to be kept that way. The reason why she asked for that was to keep paparazzi away from the helicopter crash site. She did not want anyone making money off of the tragedy.

Whether this was or was not implemented, there were still some photos of the site (and remains) that circulated around, and which made the grieving widow and mother even more upset. Allegedly, the photos were discovered when a deputy showed them to a woman at a bar. Another person saw it and launched an official complaint.

“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families (…) We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated,” – can be read in a post on Vanessa’s Instagram.

Chances are that you would not like the photos of your deceased loved ones circulating on the Internet. It is a display of basic human decency, privacy, and respect not to “show off” pictures of mangled bodies. This makes me think back to this weekend when I was driving and hit a bit of traffic. The app I used for navigation showed there was an accident up ahead. Another one. I took a deep breath and shifted my leg onto the break pedal. Gas, break, gas, break. It went like that for a few minutes before we moved towards the “blue” (smooth traffic). Surprisingly enough, there was no road block. The accident was off to the side. Once we passed the two cars, the foot was taken off the break. Why was there traffic in the first place? People were rubber-necking. We are always curious to see how gory things can get.

After the helicopter crash occurred, many people voiced their displeasure with the media coverage of Kobe and his daughter. While nine people have died, the media only focused on the two. I can only imagine the way the families of the other seven deceased people felt when their loved ones appeared to be a second thought to the majority of people. Back then, they might have felt slightly jealous of all the attention and support Vanessa Bryant had received.

There is a lot of support celebrities get during such tough times that we, average folk, will probably never get to experience. However, there is a bad side to that – decreased privacy. Because people often feel like the celebrities are a part of their lives, they try to make themselves a part of theirs. Yes, I think some photos are taken for shock value and bragging rights, but otherwise, I think people are trying to empathize and mourn in their own way.

Death is rarely easy. We hyperventilate not knowing how to handle it. That is normal. Trying to control everything around us as we mourn is a futile task. Some people will take advantage of us, but most will only be faulted for misguided attempts at relating to us.

I think making the area around the helicopter crash a no-fly zone would be a little much. How wide would the zone have to be to satisfy Vanessa? How would that influence helicopters and planes in the area carrying passengers who do not care about photographing the site? It is another perfect example of trying to control people’s actions without getting to the root of the problem. If no one was interested in seeing photos of dead celebrities, no pictures would be taken.

Being famous means forgoing a big chunk of your privacy. It might not be your favorite perk, but it is an occupational hazard one has to take on. Why would you think that stops when something negative happens? Families ask for privacy when their loved one struggles with addition or dies. I am all about honoring their rights and supporting them during their tough times (just like I would any other family). However, I believe that the burden is on them and not us. There are ways to protect your privacy. Do it.

Did you watch the memorial? Yes/No? Why/Why not? 

Why do you think Beyonce made the decision to not allow photographs?

If you were Beyonce, would you ban photos at such an event?

How do you grieve?

How much privacy do you think celebrities should be given?

Do you think Vanessa’s request for a no-fly zone should have been accepted?

Stay golden,

SGK signature.png.


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39 thoughts on “NROP: Things we need when we mourn.

Add yours

  1. Did you watch the memorial? Yes/No? Why/Why not? 

    No. I don’t have time for tv and haven’t been watching anything. But even if I did have time, I probably wouldn’t have watched that. I’m not into sports or celeb events. I just like movies.

    Why do you think Beyonce made the decision to not allow photographs?

    Don’t know.

    If you were Beyonce, would you ban photos at such an event?

    I don’t know.

    How do you grieve?

    Alone or with family.

    How much privacy do you think celebrities should be given?

    When they aren’t doing public events, they should be left alone. I don’t think they should be harassed when they’re taking their kids to school or walking their dogs.

    Do you think Vanessa’s request for a no-fly zone should have been accepted?

    No. It’s not her land. That’s ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very poignant post, Sam. I agree that grief can bring up uncomfortable feelings in others. In my experience of grief it always meant a lot to me that people said something to me – even if it was an expression of their discomfort and their struggle to know what to say. I think that feels better than being ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. I remember trying to talk to a couple of people about a deceased loved one and I saw their body freeze and they face change. They let me finish the sentence and then they changed the topic as if I said nothing. It was bizarre.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no clue who ‘Vanessa Bryant’ was until now. I gather that she’s famous because her husband was a sportsman? Not surprised that I’ve heard nothing about this incident, but then that’d be because I don’t pay much attention to the ‘news’ (read: infotaintment, emphasis on the ‘taint’). Not even sure this event would have seen any coverage at all on this side of the pond. Call me heartless, but people die every day without a blip showing on the radar.

    As for death and mourning: I’ve always thought that the biggest reason that we don’t know how to react to those who have suffered loss is because we never discuss death until it happens. So there’s a vast gulf between those who have lost and those who haven’t. For most of us, these events are few and far between… it’s not as though we can practise the depth of empathy required; and those in the abyss have enough to deal with. I feel for someone who suffers this kind of grief, but I have no clue how to make it better… because I just can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true that people die all the time. That’s why it makes me wonder when people “care” so much about celebrities.

      Interesting observation. However, I think even if we talked about it, the difference between those that have experienced it and those who have not would still be there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s give them all the privacy in the world. Then their career is over and they can find themselves a sucky job like regular people.
    Now I do think Beyonce is talented, but many celebs are pathetic excuse of an entertainer shouting about “ho’s & bitches”. 😑

    I am sure that Kobe has been a role model in sports, but that doesn’t make his death worse than the others who didn’t survive either.
    This has been bothering me since the moment I heard of the crash.

    Also, and I really hope that I don’t insult anyone by saying this, but from the celebs you mentioned, all are “black”.
    Do “white” people don’t care?
    Would these exact celebs also have done the same if he was “white”?

    And how did Beyonce exactly look? Like someone who is actually mourning or was she 3 hours in hair& make up before?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even though I am all about privacy and decency, I think that sometimes it’s too much that they ask for. They choose and pick what they want. The truth is that being a public figure (celebrities included) comes with different privileges and responsibilities. Not everyone is capable of fulfilling it.

      Some of the “songs” I hear are just incredible. Why do people listen to this crap? But I think they can it “relating.”

      Absolutely. If my loved one died in that crash, I think I might be slightly annoyed that no one remembers them.

      Interesting perspective. Does that mean that the Bryants only hang out with black people? Judging by the color of the skin of other people who died in the crash, I’d say know. But now you made me wonder if the celebrities invited themselves or if the Bryants invited them to the memorial…

      Another great point. She probably wore something that was custom made for only that occasion.


      1. Meanwhile photos weren’t allowed, filming was. I looked up Beyoncé’s performance and indeed, she looked flawless.
        And then there was Vanessa. I think she wore more make up than any other day.

        I am not saying that while mourning you have turn your appearances to a mess so that it seems more genuine, but this obviously was made for show.

        I think some might have invited themselves. Seeing them cry during something like that, most likely will give them sympathy points.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t watch the memorial because so much of the tragedy was broadcast through every media. It was too much of a bad thing. It reminded me of the broadcasts of 9/11 showing the towers falling..again, again, and again. If Beyonce didn’t want pictures taken during the memorial, then I say photographers should have respected her wish for that event. Everyone grieves differently, so for her no pictures was the right thing to ask. I believe she left the matter up to the other celebrities to choose.

    Liked by 1 person


    I don’t personally mourn for Kobe or his daughter or the others on the flight. Is it a tragedy? Of course. But if we mourn for everyone who dies regardless of circumstances–young, old, disease, accident, murder, natural causes, we’d be crying all the time. It’s just not possible. We cry because the human race has succumbed to the end of life because of the apple thing in the garden? I think we grieve because death separates us from someone we know or someone who means something to us. Kobe didn’t really mean anything to me, so I am incapable of mourning, but I still feel sad for the families the victims left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I only knew about the crash because Jase reads the news and relays information that he finds shocking or interesting. I’m an asshole and my response was “That’s sad, but what about all the other people that died today?”

    As far as the memorial goes, I didn’t know one was happening, and if I did, I wouldn’t have watched it……..Why…..I’d rather do something else.

    I don’t have an opinion about Beyoncé’s or Vanessa’s request I know plenty of un~famous people that make weird requests. I’m sure I’ve asked for things that have puzzled other’s but it made sense to me at the time.

    I think celebs deserve to be treated as fellow human beings with decency and respect.

    I grieve in waves. People, exhaustion, send everyone away…..reach out to people…..exhaustion…..on and on it goes….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember sitting in a room with my partner as we did separate things. “Kobe’s dead,” I said in a matter-of -fact tone. “What?” was the response. I had to explain about the crash, and we went on about our day afterward. I found it somehow weird the way we reacted. Your response was precious.

      Same. I didn’t know it was happening. And, I probably wouldn’t have watched it, either.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Being someone who doesn’t follow any sport, I never knew who Kobe was until I heard the tragic news about his death. I felt bad for his grieving family, though. Even if I didn’t know Kobe well enough to feel the gravity of his death, the loss of human life is the loss of human life.

    Now, I don’t know why Beyonce would ask that her photographs should not be taken, but I sure hope it’s not for a selfish reason. If I were Beyonce, I don’t think I would ban photos, and it’s not because I want the publicity or anything (God, no).

    But you know how adamant people can be: instructing a child not to take the sweets you left in the fridge whets his appetite for the sweets even more. So, asking people not to take your photos may only compel them to.

    How do you grieve?

    By shutting myself from the rest of the world. It may not be the best way to grieve, but this process didn’t come with a manual or guidebook. So I think celebrities should have as much privacy as they desire whenever they’re grieving the loss of someone. They’re people too; their feelings should be respected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting that such news travels that far. Just goes to show how some people are “more important” than others.

      The forbidden fruit. Of course. And that’s what some people say – that by requesting no photos, she had people focus their attention on her. That probably got her more PR than if she had not said anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t really care much for celebrities. Although there are some that I like but I wouldn’t shed a tear for them when they die. People die all the time and I don’t see why famous people deserve more honor than others when they die.

    I recently lost an old friend and when I heard about it I was at work and preparing for a meeting. I was so sad that I cancelled the meeting and cried alone in a corner where no one can see me. I prefer to mourn alone but I would also reach out to those who are close to the deceased just to see how they are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A thought-provoking post. The topic of grieve is always a challenging one. Especially, if death happens in dramatic and unexpected circumstances. My impression is that people are likely to respect more the privacy of those who mourn in case death happens from natural reasons such as illness. Any fatal accident is always the source of a bombshell. In particular, if celebrities are involved. People get curious. They seek a shock value as you rightly said. A chronic illness makes people get used to the idea of someone’s death. People get prepared mentally. Whatever comes out of the blue, it stimulates people to boost a temporary uncertainty.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I like your question. If it was right in front of me, I might click on it/ pick it up. It would probably depend on the title/thumbnail/etc. But I wouldn’t seek it out. Or worse – pay for it.


  11. Excellent piece on fame, privacy, and respect. I think it honestly comes down to the last one and that’s what a lot of people lack. Celebrities, however, should know that once they become famous, they remain so for pretty much all their life, and that includes when tragedy strikes them…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Did you watch the memorial? Yes/No? Why/Why not? 
    Nope. Not interested. I think their deaths are certainly sad, but I am not grieving them, so no need to eAttend a memorial.

    Why do you think Beyonce made the decision to not allow photographs?
    No clue, and I don’t care why.

    If you were Beyonce, would you ban photos at such an event?
    No. Let people do what they are going to do without making them feel guilty about it.

    How do you grieve?
    Privately. I turn inwardly and struggle to maintain social ties.

    How much privacy do you think celebrities should be given?
    As much as they seek. Most are happy to be in the media, until they are no longer their best selves. If they then want privacy, they can achieve it, but it truly has to be their goal.

    Do you think Vanessa’s request for a no-fly zone should have been accepted?
    No. While I understand the request, she doesn’t need to seek out any media coverage. She could avoid seeing that negativity if she truly wants to.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s crazy that I came upon this today as earlier I was out for a walk and thought about my grandmother. I full-on balled in the woods. I was thinking about her in a simple sense, like the small things she used to do for me. I sat and had a cry and moved on. I hold back my emotions a lot. But, then sometimes it just hits me. Loss is hard, especially when it hits you for the first time. It’s a strange thing about life and it has to happen at some point. As for the Kobe Bryant incident, that was truly heart-breaking and I am glad they made that a no fly zone and did not allow photos. American paparazzi are leaches and ruin peoples life. They would use those photos for the wrong reasons and make money off of their death. I actually think it should be illegal to pursue celebrities outside of organized events or approved settings. Chasing people around looking for moments to exploit should be outlawed because it sometimes results in death.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very understanding of celebrities then. A good human being.

      I’m the same with emotions. You bottle them up but then they just come out. I’m sorry about your grandmother, but I am happy to hear that you have such amazing memories of her.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. Most times they are happy thoughts, well really they are all happy. But, when it hits you sometimes that the time as passed and they are gone, it’s the small things you miss the most.

        Liked by 2 people

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